Many people dream of the day they can ditch the morning commute and their professional business attire and work from their kitchen table in their bunny slippers. But be careful what you wish for — things are not always what they seem.
As more and more companies see the value in having their workforce work remotely, the home office is becoming a real option for business professionals. In a recent study by Genesis Research Associates, 76 percent of business owners said they embrace remote hiring as part of their long-term strategies.
As a recentn article in Fast Company notes, “The economy is forcing companies to find ways to do more with less. By using technology to communicate and collaborate with workers from around the globe, they are now able to bring the work to the workers, instead of waiting for the workers to come to them.”
So, as industry readies for a larger remote workforce, how ready are the employees? Despite what people envision, working from home takes a special kind of discipline and focus. When you work in an office, the structure and framework of your day is formed by the building you’re in, your desk, and the other rooms you may frequent throughout the day. You also have easy access to other co-workers and technical support people should you have any issues with your equipment. But what do you do when none of these support mechanisms are right at hand?
To work successfully outside of a formal office setting, you need to be aware of the challenges. In a standard corporate office, you come in to a pre-established culture and workflow. When you’re working remotely, you are responsible for establishing your own workflow and the structure of your day, while acknowledging the remote culture within your organization. Accessibility and open communication are key to managing an efficient, effective home office.
Those who are able to establish a strong, practical balance to their workday will find that working remotely is a very efficient, cost-effective way to conduct business. Those that fail to do so may feel as though they’ve just entered a crazy, unbalanced world of chaos and confusion.
And even the fuzziest bunny slippers won’t help at that point.
Joseph F. Bastian, president of The Human Performance Network, is a regular contributor to DBusiness.com and DBusiness Daily News.